University of North Texas graduate student Fiona Gillespie is excited about a unique opportunity the university’s a cappella choir has to get to the know the international singing community.
The UNT A Cappella Choir will be traveling to Daejeon, South Korea, for the International Choral Festival next week.
“We were so excited,” said Gillespie, one of 41 singers in the choir. “It was kind of a surprise.”
Although the invitation to an international festival was a surprise, the location wasn’t, she said.
Jerry McCoy, a regents professor who directs the choir and is the director of choral studies at UNT, has done a lot of work in South Korea.
In fact, earlier this year, McCoy conducted the Daejeon Philharmonic Choir.
During the festival, which runs Sept. 14-16, the UNT A Cappella Choir will perform the closing concert of the festival as well as conduct two master classes.
There will be professional groups from Germany, Taiwan, South Korea and a children’s chorus from Norway performing during the festival.
“It’s a huge honor, and it speaks a great deal to the singing programs at the University of North Texas,” McCoy said.
After the festival, the choir will sing in Incheon, a suburb of Seoul.
Daejeon is paying 80 percent of the choir’s expenses, McCoy said.
“This is something that only comes across every once in a while,” he said.
Gillespie said four or five of the students are from South Korea, so it’s exciting for them to take what they’re doing in Denton home to their families.
It will be a pretty packed schedule, she said, but there will be time to see traditional markets and visit the Seoul Museum of Art.
“It’s going to be really exciting to sing to these people,” Gillespie said.
She said it’s exciting to go there with McCoy and show the people who know him there what he does at UNT.
The choir came back to school 10 days early to begin rehearsing for the festival.
Before the students leave, they will be giving a “Bon Voyage” concert at 8 p.m. Sunday.
The concert will include Eric Whitacre’s “Leonardo Dreams of his Flying Machine,” “Ich binder Welt abhanden gekommen” by Gustav Mahler, “Cantus Missae” by Joseph Rheinberger, African-American spirituals and Venezuelan songs, as well as some Korean songs.
Gillespie said the trip is a way of “broadening your understanding of the music you do outside of America.”
In the past, the choir has taken a trip to Taiwan, she said.
“I think everyone is appreciative that [McCoy] finds these opportunities,” Gillespie said.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
IF YOU GO
Who: University of North Texas A Cappella Choir
What: “Bon Voyage” concert
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Winspear Hall in the Murchison Performing Arts Center, located along the north side of Interstate 35E at North Texas Boulevard